Honorary Degree Recipients: Fall 2016
Photo of Sandra Buhai Barz

Sandra Buhai Barz

Honorary Doctorate of Letters
TUESDAY, October 18

Raised in an eclectic Chicago suburb, Ms. Sandra Barz developed a deep appreciation for different cultures and ethnicities early in life. The daughter of a businessman and a social worker, she grew up with a love for storytelling and in Grade 6 would make her own newspapers. Ms. Barz studied sociology in college but ultimately pursued a career in publishing, for years working at American magazines Redbook and McCall’s.

What began as a personal interest in Inuit art as a collector would grow into a lifelong commitment to the people of the Far North. In 1976, Ms. Barz launched the first international newsletter on circumpolar art and affairs, Arts and Culture of the North, once realizing no such forum existed. She wanted to give a voice to Inuit artists, believing their rich culture should be shared with the world. The publication served as an important catalyst, bringing together artists, scholars, curators and collectors for the first time and capturing a time of enormous growth. Ms. Barz would go on to write and publish three books of documentation on Inuit printmaking, now recognized as the definitive works in the field. This labour of love is an unprecedented record of contemporary Inuit art that is widely cited by students and scholars in both the academic and museum worlds.

Ms. Barz championed the culture and creativity of a people. She made 35 trips to the Arctic over 40 years, painstakingly documenting the tiniest of details, from artists’ birthdates to their genealogy, all in an effort to preserve this history for future generations. She faced a formidable task: language barriers, remote communities, and collections hidden away in museums and the homes of private collectors. Colleagues describe her accomplishment as an extraordinary feat, and her dedication as inspirational. She grew a database of nearly 8,000 Inuit prints from across the Arctic that date back almost six decades.

She also launched educational tours to the Far North, bringing people from around the world to meet artists face-to-face and expand their appreciation for Inuit culture and traditions. The study conference series Ms. Barz developed in Canadian cities and south of the border were groundbreaking and forged community connections that without her foresight might never have happened. Ms. Barz’s legacy is to preserve the legacy of others. She has
generously donated her collected materials to the National Gallery of Canada, the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the University of Manitoba archives.

For her outstanding example of altruism, the University of Manitoba is proud to bestow upon Ms. Sandra Barz a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. 

Photo of Wilton Littlechild

Wilton Littlechild
C.M.; Q.C.; I.P.C.; F.P.; B.A., M.A., LL.B.(Alta.); LL.D.(Alta.)(Leth.)

Honorary Doctorate of Laws
WEDNESDAY, October 19

An advocate, a lawyer and a former Member of Parliament, Chief Wilton Littlechild has advanced the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.

He saw his role as a Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to building a better country, one that is inclusive for all. A Survivor of the Residential School System and father of three, Chief Littlechild believes in fostering forgiveness while educating Canadians of today and tomorrow.

With great heart and spirit, he travelled the country to hear the stories of other Survivors. As a young boy he lived with his grandparents, who helped instill within him a deep connection to his Cree culture, including its language and sacred ceremonies. His grandfather was Chief of the Ermineskin Cree Nation for more than three decades and taught his grandson about the importance of strengthening the community you call home.

Chief Littlechild knows first-hand the trauma of being forced into Residential School, along with the abuse, cultural disparagement, and longing for his family. He found solace in sports and says that’s how he survived the devastating 14-year ordeal.

He would go on to compete internationally in hockey, baseball and swimming, winning more than 70 championships at various levels.An exceptional athlete, he pursued this passion in university, graduating with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1967 from the University of Alberta and securing a master’s degree eight years later.Knowing the positive power of sport, he helped to found the North American Indigenous Games and the World Indigenous Nations Games and has been inducted into seven Sports Halls of Fame. Chief Littlechild earned a law degree in 1976 and became the first Indigenous lawyer in Alberta; he was also among the first Indigenous members of the Canadian Parliament.

As an MP for Wetakiwin-Rimby from 1988 to 1993, he served on several senior committees and was a parliamentary delegate to the United Nations. He was tireless in his efforts to ensure Indigenous peoples achieve the rights and recognition that is theirs on the international stage.

In 1999, he was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. A true leader, he has been recognized with appointments as the Honorary Chief of the Maskwacis Cree and as the International Chief for the Treaty No. 6 Confederacy. He was also elected as the Regional Chief for the three Treaty territories in 2006 and more recently awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence and named a recipient of the Saskatchewan Distinguished Service Award.

From his law firm in his home community of Ermineskin Reserve in Alberta, Chief Littlechild continues to advocate for the implementation of the Treaties and champion the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The University of Manitoba is proud to bestow upon Chief Wilton Littlechild a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his advocacy and leadership.

Photo of Wayne G. Wouters

Wayne G. Wouters
P.G.; B.Comm.(Sask.); M.A.(Queen’s): LL.D.(Sask.)

Honorary Doctorate of Laws
THURSDAY, October 20

During a distinguished career in public service spanning nearly four decades, former Clerk of the Privy Council The Honourable Wayne Wouters helped to shape a stronger Canada.

He did so with the utmost humility and respect for others, tenets he learned from his parents growing up on the family farm in small-town Edam, Saskatchewan.

The Honourable Wayne Wouters played an influential role in many of the important public policy decisions of the last decade, and informed major government-led initiatives as Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of the Public Service. He directed complex institutional transformations, enhanced Canada’s international trade relations and, as Secretary of the Treasury Board, oversaw an annual budget exceeding $250 billion.

His career in public service began in 1977 with the Government of Saskatchewan. With a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master’s in Economics from Queen’s University, The Honourable Wayne Wouters held several positions at the provincial level before moving to Ottawa in 1982 to join the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources as Director of Industry Analysis.

Recognized for his ability to achieve transformational change, The Honourable Wayne Wouters moved up through the ranks, accepting greater responsibilities and bringing his expertise to a diverse range of portfolios. As Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, he led the expenditure reduction plan that in 1995 brought the federal budget back into a surplus for the first time in years.

He was not afraid to tread into unfamiliar waters. Despite coming from a landlocked province, his first appointment as a Deputy Minister was with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He would also serve as Deputy Minister of Labour, of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission, and of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. In 2009 he was appointed Clerk of the Privy Council, the country’s top post in public service. Throughout his career, The Honourable Wayne Wouters knew the importance of not only having a clear vision but also offering mentorship along the way.

He guided 450,000 employees into the digital era and inspired a new spirit of collaboration with the development of Blueprint 2020, a ground-breaking consultation process to create a more transparent public service. The Honourable Wayne Wouters championed a more open style of leadership and set his own example by communicating extensively to front-line workers and inviting feedback.

He reinforces the link between public service, the public good and personal giving. His contribution to building a stronger Canada extends to his volunteerism; he became the first public servant to chair the United Way Campaign in the nation’s capital.

Following his retirement in 2014, The Honourable Wayne Wouters was sworn in as a member of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada, a rare honour for an unelected government official that recognizes his outstanding service to Canadians.

The University of Manitoba is proud to award a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to The Honourable Wayne Wouters, a visionary who has been tireless in his work for others.

Updated October 11, 2016